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Painting Clouds and Abstract Art

Plein Air Artist Stefan Baumann Talks about painting clouds and how to use abstract art to create them

The post Painting Clouds and
Abstract Art
appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Tips & Tools – My Favorite Scissors

If I was only allowed to have a single pair of scissors, this is the pair I would choose. My friend and fellow bookbinder, Melody, gave me these scissors about 15 years ago. They have been my favorite scissors ever since.

If I could only have one pair of scissors, these little ones would be the ones I would pick.

If I could only have one pair of scissors, these little ones would be the ones I would pick.

I have had people ask me what scissors they were, but I only knew they were Friskars. This past week, however, I found their original packaging. I had put it in a file folder to save it because I thought so much of the scissors. Now I can finally tell you the name of these wonderful scissors. They are Friskars No. 5 Softgrip Micro-Tip Scissors.

My scissors are over 15 years old, but they are still my "go to" scissors when I'm working with paper. Here is the original packaging.

My scissors are over 15 years old, but they are still my “go to” scissors when I’m working with paper. Here is the original packaging.

I’ve used these scissors a lot and have not yet needed to have them sharpened. I’m sure they’re overdue, but they still work just fine.

Happy paper cutting, Candy

Plein Air Painting in the National Parks

This video is about Plein Air Painting in the National Parks by Plein Air painter and Host of The Grand View, Stefan Baumann. In this video Baumann talks to his students on tips for painting in the National Parks along with good advice for artist wanting to paint Plein Air on location. See his website @www.StefanBaumann.com and get his free book on Plein air painting he also discusses using a thumb box as a way to travel EZ.

The post Plein Air Painting in the National Parks appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

DIY – Red, White & Blue Paper Stars

In Ashland, Oregon, where I live, the 4th of July is a major holiday. We have an old fashioned parade and lots and lots of people come to see it. In fact, there are usually more people watching the parade than there are permanent residents in Ashland. So decorating in red, white and blue is simply something I always do this time of year.

Paper red, white and blue paper stars make a great table decoration for my 4th of July table.

Red, white and blue paper stars make a great table decoration for my 4th of July table.

I have a box filled with seasonal decorations that has lots of red, white and blue decorations in it. Each year I try to come up with something new to add to it. This year it’s paper stars. I made some metallic paper stars for the holidays (see DIY Three Dimensional Paper Star). They came out great, but they did take a fair amount of time to make. For these red, white and blue paper stars, I decided to simplify the process.

These paper stars are easy to make. Cut, score and fold.

These paper stars are easy to make. Cut, score and fold.

Instructions:

  1. Cut out a 5 pointed star. Score the 5 lines that go from a point in the star to the opposite side of the star. Figure 1 above shows where the score lines go on the star.
  2. Figure 2 shows the cut out star with score lines. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the score lines are there.
  3. Fold each of the lines you have scored, as in Figure 3 above.
  4. After the initial folds are made, they will all be “mountain folds.” Now make the folds from the center to the shortest side of the star into valley folds by pushing them down as in Figure 4 above. If you need help with understanding scoring and mountain and valley folds, see my blog post: Understanding Paper Grain Direction.
The finished paper star.

The finished paper star.

I made my stars in a variety of sizes. I think the variety makes a great presentation. Use these stars for table decorations or for just place around the house for a festive effect.

I have these red, white and blue paper stars on my entry table. I like to change what I put there with the changing seasons.

I have these red, white and blue paper stars on my entry table. I like to change what I put there with the changing seasons.

I have included a PDF template of stars in 3 sizes. You may use this for cutting out your stars.
Template: Stars in 3 sizes

Enjoy, Candy

Art On The Go! – Tea Bag Folding

Another trip this past week in Josie, our new-to-us camper, gave me a little more experience in organizing and making art while traveling. With limited space, I had to pick my project carefully and decide what to take on this trip. For this trip it was cutting and folding tea bag wrappers.

This tea bag rosette was made from 8 tea bag wrappers like the one in the photo above.

This tea bag rosette was made from 8 tea bag wrappers like the one in the photo above.

My friends have been graciously saving and giving me their tea bag wrappers for a number of months and I have amassed a rather large number of them. I decided to take a stack of the tea bag wrappers with me and cut them into 2″ squares as well as start folding them into rosettes. I wanted to try a new fold I had found and see how it looked when folded.

I have great friends who have saved their tea bag wrappers for me. I now have a great treasure trove of many varieties of tea, many I never new of before.

I have great friends who have saved their tea bag wrappers for me. I now have a great treasure trove of many varieties of tea, many of which I never new about.

This trip was easy to pack for because I didn’t need to do any prep work other than gathering the supplies and putting them in the van. I just packed a small cutter, some tea bag wrappers, the new instructions I had just found and a little glue. It all fit in one small bag.

This is the portable cutter I took with me. It was easy to cut 2" squares from tea bag wrappers.

This is the portable cutter I took with me. It was easy to cut 2″ squares from tea bag wrappers.

I enjoyed playing with the tea bags and the new fold. What I found was that cutting and both folding use similar muscle groups. For future trips, I’d like to include more variety in what I take with me to work on while traveling.

This photo shows the original tea bag wrapper and how it looks cut into a 2" square along with a sample of the completed rosette that is made of 8 of the 2" squares.

This photo shows the original tea bag wrapper and how it looks cut into a 2″ square along with the completed rosette  made of 8 of the 2″ squares.

It’s going to take lots more trips to get through all my tea bag wrappers. I have some ideas I want to try out along with different folds and color combinations.

I didn't know there were this many different Stash teas. I love all the different colors of the wrappers. I can see a rainbow in my future.

I didn’t know there were this many different Stash teas. I love all the different colors of the wrappers. I see a rainbow in the future.

For more information about tea bag folding (including links to instructions) see my blog post: DIY – Tea Bag Folding & Paper Origami Rosettes

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Father’s Day Napkin Tie

When I found instructions for folding a napkin into a tie on the Chinet website, I knew I had to make some for Father’s Day. Here’s a link to the instructions: PDF Father’s Day Necktie Napkin Fold Instructions by Chinet.

This tie is folded from a napkin. It's perfect for Father's Day.

This tie is folded from a paper napkin. It’s a perfect addition to a Father’s Day meal. The pinstripes were added with a white pen.

I normally use cloth napkins, but with a little rummaging through some Christmas boxes, I found some red paper napkins. I decided they would work perfectly if I added a little pinstriping. So, with the help of a ruler and a white pen, I made white pinstripes on my red paper napkins. The paper did absorb the white ink, so I had to go over each stripe a few times. Labor intensive, but this is for my dad who doesn’t want gifts, so I think of it as a labor of love.

I started with a red paper napkin and used a white pen to make pinstripes for the soon-to-be tie.

I started with a red paper napkin (right) and used a white pen to make pinstripes for the soon-to-be tie (left).

I followed the instructions pretty well, but not quite exactly. Here is how I folded my tie.

This is what my tie looked like after the first folds.

This is what my tie looked like after the first folds.

To make my tie look crisp, I decided I needed to iron it after each set of folds. It really did the trick.

My Father's Day tie after the second set of folds. I used a single Zot to hold the tie together.

My Father’s Day tie after the second set of folds. I used a single Zot to hold the tie together.

In addition to ironing, I decided to glue the tie where the two folds come together on the back. One little Zot did the trick. I think double sided tape would work well too. I like using Zots because these are removable and will make it easy to unfold the napkin and use it as such.

The "knot" on the top is perfect for slipping silverware through.

The “knot” on the top is perfect for slipping silverware through.

After winding the “knot” around, I attached another little Zot on the back to hold the knot in place. Then I slipped a fork and spoon through the loop that was created by the knot.

Link to Chinet’s instructions: PDF Father’s Day Necktie Napkin Fold Instructions by Chinet.

Wishing you all a Happy Father’s Day, Candy

A Bit of Frog Pond History – My First Commission

Forgotten (Almost) Commission

Recently, I was looking through my library of file CDs and came across my first commission: the frog pond series.  I had almost forgotten about it…almost.

2002 Digital Media

I thought it would be fun to share the frog pond cartoons and give a bit of backstory. Apparently, I like doing cartoons.  Not surprising, I grew up reading Pogo, Peanuts and lots of comics.

Frog Pond History

I agreed to my first commission back in 2002.  It all started when my husband and I walked in to a new wine shop in our soon-to-be home town.  It was a cool, artsy wine shop called “Green Frog Wine Shop”.  The name caught my attention.

I recall talking to the proprietress while tasting some of her wines. She talked about wine, I talked about drawing.  I agreed to create a frog drinking wine as a logo for her shop.

Digital cartoon created by Margaret Stermer-Cox 2002

On subsequent visits to the wine shop, the proprietress told us of her business plans.  She planned to do a bed & breakfast in the building that housed the wine shop.  She also wanted to do a day care center and a taxi service.  In our little town, these businesses were lacking.

Digital cartoon created by Margaret Stermer-Cox 2002

Soon, I was drawing tadpoles, taxi drivers and a frog greeting customers with a candalabra.

Frog Pond Commission

Then, there was the catering business and maybe it would all be part of “Frog Pond Plaza”.  She certainly had the energy to do these things.

Frog Pond Commission

When it came time to deliver my cartoons, I found out that the “Green Frog Wine Shop” was going out of business.  Apparently, the proprietress’ parents had health problems and she was moving back to their home to take care of them.

I don’t remember the terms of the commission.  It was a verbal contract.  I know I was supposed to be paid.   She didn’t have the money to pay me.  Instead, I was paid in wine bottles.

I appreciated that she honored our contract as best she could.

That was the first and last time I worked with only a verbal contract.

Digital cartoon created by Margaret Stermer-Cox 2002

Digital cartoon
created by Margaret Stermer-Cox
2002

I did an additional frog for my husband, who was and is a webmaster.  I must have been having a ton of fun!

Oh, we drank the wine and it was fine.

Party Frog - Commission

Technique

The way I did the frogs was by doing graphite pencil drawings first.  Then, I would scan them into the computer.  I used Corel’s Painter program to re-draw the cartoon.  Then I added colors and fills.

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Studio Snapshot – Boxes With Chocolate For Father’s Day

The first half of my week was working on Origami Mandalas (see Art On The Go! – Making Origami Mandalas). The last half of the week was spent thinking about Father’s Day. Do you realize, it’s less than a week away?

Chocolate in their own boxes for Gary, Nelson, Bob & Warren for Father's Day.

Chocolate in their own boxes for Gary, Nelson, Bob & Warren for Father’s Day.

My father has made it difficult for me, again, by requesting no gifts. He says he doesn’t have room to store more “stuff.” I get that, but it’s hard for me not to get him something for Father’s Day.

I figure I can get away with giving him some chocolate. That’s edible and won’t take up space once it’s eaten. Dagoba Taster Squares are perfect since they are like individual small bites. They can be easily saved (or eaten immediately).

I made each box in the favorite color of the recipient.

I made each box in the favorite color of the recipient.

Since my dad and I we will be with 3 other fathers on Father’s Day, I decided to make 4 boxes, one for each of the fathers and fill them with Dagoba Taster Squares.

You can download the template for making these boxes from my blog post: DIY – Truffle Box. I also show how to close the box once it is made.

Happy Father’s Day, Candy

Art On The Go! – Origami Mandalas

This past week I received an order for a number of Origami Mandalas. I also have sold a number of them from my studio. So, on my 4 day camping trip this week, I decided to try making Origami Mandalas in our new-to-us little RV while traveling and camping. (See Josie’s Story – Introducing Art On The Go! for details on our new-to-us little RV.)

I was able to fold a lot papers for Origami Mandalas on my latest camping trip.

I was able to fold a lot papers for Origami Mandalas on my latest camping trip. The key was having the papers cut and ready to be folded. Not much space is needed to fold.

My origami mandalas are made from paper scraps that are 1″ by 4″. Even after using paper scraps for the paper wrapped pencils I made last week, I still had enough smaller scraps left to make quite a few origami mandalas.

Here I'm working on deciding color combinations for the Origami Mandalas.

Here I’m working on deciding color combinations for the Origami Mandalas.

I cut the papers for the origami mandalas and took them with me on our 4 day camping trip. I folded every day. What I discovered was that I need to have varied tasks and not just fold all the time. My muscles got tired easily when I was only doing folding. When I started doing other things, like sketching or gluing, I could work longer than when I was just folding. I think this is because at home I’m getting interrupted a lot more and move around more than when I’m traveling in a tiny space.

For some reason I am drawn to the color green for healing, as in this Origami Mandala.

For some reason I am drawn to the color green for healing, as in this Origami Mandala.

For my next trip, I will take more of a variety of projects with me. I will include some folding, but I’ll also have other projects that use other muscles. Our van is quite small and I don’t move around in it as much as I do at home, so I’m going to have to consider that when picking what to take with me.

I'm drawn to the color blue for dreaming, as in this Origami Mandala.

I’m drawn to the color blue for dreaming, as in this Origami Mandala.

Storage is at a premium, so planning ahead is essential. While I plan on taking multiple projects, what I do take has to take up as little space as possible.

Another green for healing in this Origami Mandala.

Another green for healing in this Origami Mandala.

One of my projects for this next week is to make a list of the things I do on a regular basis that might be appropriate to take with me when traveling. I’m going to include everything from parts of projects to entire projects. I’m thinking that most will require prep work before I go, much like the cutting of the 1″ by 4″ strips for folding my Origami Mandalas did for this trip.

Blue again for this dream Origami Mandala.

Blue again for this dream Origami Mandala.

For links to instructions to make Origami Mandalas and other rosette and mandala folds see my blog post: DIY – Tea Bag Folding & Paper Origami Rosettes.

Enjoy, Candy

Why Draw? Why Paint?

The “Why Paint” Question

Why do I ask the “why paint” question?  I came across two blog posts* that asked similar questions regarding “why”.  The question sparked my brain cells.  I’ve been “riffing” on this idea for the past two days!

Why Paint? Strawberry Frogs?

So why draw and paint?  Why go through all the self doubt that seems to be part of the process?

Come to think of it, I didn’t always have doubt.  Its one of the situations where the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.  Sigh.

Why – Other Artists?

Hmmm, is it just because I like being around artists?   I do like to be around artists and discuss techniques, ideas, problems.  I think its more a situation of “we’re all in this together” than a “WHY” reason to paint.

Why – Beauty or Fun?

Is it just because I like drawings and paintings?

Its got to be about more than “I like to paint beauty”…or “because its fun”. Maybe.

I haven’t quite gotten to painting beauty.  I can hardly define beauty.  And, sometimes drawing or painting isn’t so fun.  Its more frustrating.  It being the act of painting, combined with all the self doubt and struggle to get “it” right – it being the finished work in this case.

Why? Strawberry plants from my garden

Why – Prestige?

How about prestige?  Is it an ego thing?  Well, I do like entering my paintings into shows.  I get a charge out of being accepted.  It does my ego good.  Yet, I get enough “decline your painting” notices that I’m pretty sure I don’t paint for shows.

Plus, I benefit from what I just named the “show paradox”.  When I paint for shows, I don’t get in.  When I paint then submit my best, I stand a better chance of being accepted.

Why – Money?

Could it be that I like the money?  Umm, no.  I’m not making huge sums of money through drawing or painting so I don’t think its the money.  On a side note, that isn’t a whine.  My marketing efforts have been modest and I know it.  Should money be the reason I paint, I believe I would have to apply myself to mastering the marketing.

I think I would still draw and paint even if I did not show my work or did not make a sale.

Why – To Avoid Pain?

Yes, avoiding pain can be a motivation.  I learned this from Anthony Robbins tapes I listened to in the 1990s.

And, to a certain extent I think it is a part of my “why”.  It would be too painful if I never tried.  I would always wonder what I had missed.  In my little head dialog, I urge myself on.  The pain of not trying is something I actively avoid.

Why Paint

Why Not?…What I Like

There has to be a why that sustains me through the struggle of learning to draw and paint.

Here are a few things I know I like:

  • I like trying things and seeing if I can make it work.  I love the experience.
  • I like the feel of a loaded, wet watercolor brush on paper.  Its great watching the paint too!
  • I love it when I start to understand or experience something.  Particularly those things that more experienced artists say I should see.  When I finally get it, its exciting.
  • I like the results of drawing and painting.  I like the magic of when the drawing or painting start to come together.

But, what about the big WHY?

Maybe, I just like drawing and painting.  Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and painting.  My school notebooks are full of drawings, sometimes more drawings than class notes.

I think that at the end of the day, its that the simple act of drawing or painting is an act of optimism.  Its about communicating what I see, feel or imagine to another person.

Connecting, is that what I’m talking about?  Is my “WHY” a statement that there are somethings that are OK?

Maybe its a connection of optimism, beauty, joy.  How about wonder?

Do you suppose the “WHY” is as unique as each one of us?  Or, is this visual communication universal?

I think the act of drawing and painting is what I like to do.  It makes me feel good.

Its still hard.

And frustrating.

And fascinating!

That’s why.

What’s your “why”?

Why Paint - World Watercolor Month

World Watercolor Month – July 2016

Back to earth here, I’ve been working on my ink and watercolor studies.  I think this kind of work fits right in with the upcoming “World Watercolor Month” – mainly because its watercolor.  Any kind of watercolor work would suffice by definition, don’t you think?  I think its pretty wonderful that there is a worldwide watercolor month.  I do like community!  Speaking of which, I heard about “World Watercolor Month” on Citizen Sketcher’s blog.

NOTES:

I’m listing the two blog posts that sparked the question “why”.

Frank Eber: “Aspirations of An Artist”

Angela Bruskotter: “The Why of An Artist”

 

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